Director Uwe Boll on Coming Back to Filmmaking, The Super Mario Bros. Is ‘A Great Family Film,’ Spending Thousands on Fortnite, and More

John Nguyen

Uwe Boll is known to gamers as the director of video game movies such as House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and BloodRayne. With these films receiving harsh criticism, he challenged his critics to boxing matches, and these events became a spectacle. He shifted focus to the restaurant business as a restaurateur, but now Boll is back in the director’s chair, working on a couple of upcoming movies.

Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with Boll about his upcoming films, the state of video game movies, how he got started in making video game movies, and more. You can watch the full video interview below.

On The Super Mario Bros. Movie: “It’s a great family film. That was for the kids, basically.”

On Sonic the Hedgehog: “I mean, that was also funny, right? I think it had very good action, too, in a way. But it was also well done. We watched it actually in the movies, and then later also on the streamer. So it’s a film you can watch twice or three times. It’s very good.”

On spending lots of money on Fortnite: “I spent money on Fortnite. That was so clever how they launched that game and then you keep spending on the action packs, the skins, and whatever. You can just keep spending and overall I would say at least 1500 bucks, 2000 bucks per year.”

Boll is currently busy making films, but there was a time when he wasn’t behind the camera.

“2016, when I did Rampage 3, that was the last film for four and a half, five years,” Boll said. “And then I missed it. Then when COVID came, we closed the restaurant, and I felt, ‘Okay, so what now. I missed doing film, so I felt, ‘Okay, let’s go back into film production.’ And we developed various things. Went out there, and tried to pitch things.”

Boll is finishing up First Shift, which is in the middle of post-production with Ethan Maniquis (Sin City, Machete) busy working on editing. The film follows a NYC police officer and his rookie partner Angela as they deal with the dangers of being a cop in the city. It’s expected to be released in theaters this winter.

“But First Shift in New York was the first new film I basically did in March in New York,” Boll continued. “It’s a police film [taking] place in one day. And then you follow two police officers through the day where you have episodes. You know, sad episodes, violent episodes, the mafia, and all that stuff in 12 hours, basically.”

He hopes to start his next project in the fall or winter, which will be set in South Africa.

“And I have another film,” the director revealed. “Hopefully, we’ll have the cast soon, and we can shoot that in South Africa, where a guy gets blackmailed, because the family is kidnapped, to kill five people in a short period of time. Otherwise, his family is dead. And during the killing spree, he wants to find out why. What’s happening?”

Boll wanted the film to be set in South Africa due to its environment.

“Because you need this kind of exotic situation where you lose control,” the director explained. “You cannot go to your buddy and tell him everything or something. I’m looking forward to doing that film. And I feel like when I’m watching a lot of products, and I think that the straight action films are rare now. You basically have this $250 million CGI, crazy Marvel kind of world. And then you have a lot of this kind of arty drama. Yeah, a lot of times a little boring, sad film.”

The filmmaker still has a goal for viewers in mind, and that is to at least make a film that will entertain them enough to not make them want to check their phones.

“There are still shows that grab you and you don’t even want to look at your phone and you don’t want to get disturbed because you’re really in it,” Boll said. “And that is my goal… to do films where the people don’t change the channel and don’t say after 20 minutes, ‘I don’t want to know how this ends.’ I think so far I’m not bad at it. Even if people say, ‘Whatever! Alone in the Dark, I hate it!’ Whatever you know, but they all watched it till the end. But at least they watched it, right? Because of the streaming situation too, it’s so easy to stop that. It’s so easy to just say, ‘No, I’m not doing it.’ I tried to make at least the films people want to finish.”

The interview was edited for length and clarity.